While not confirming the statistics, Fenton told reporters that a new method for computing HIV infections is being used by the CDC. "The new estimates are not final," he said, adding that the numbers "are still undergoing rigorous analysis and scientific review to ensure the accuracy of both the new methods and of the estimates."
New statistics on rates of unprotected sex among gay and bisexual men are more certain, however. In Mayer's analysis, researchers had more than 500 Boston-area HIV-infected gay or bisexual men complete "behavioral risk assessments." Three-quarters of the men were white, with ages ranging from 21 to 70.
The research team found that 37.3 percent of the men said they had engaged in unprotected anal intercourse over the past three months. In 41.3 percent of these cases, unsafe sex took place with another HIV-infected partner, but in 31.4 percent of cases the unprotected behavior took place with a partner whose HIV status was unknown. In 23 percent of cases, the infected man engaged in unprotected sex with a partner he knew to be HIV-negative, the study found.
Another study, this one led by CDC researcher Nicole Crepaz, found similar results. Her team reviewed data from 27 studies published between 2000 and 2006. The studies included more than 10,000 gay or bisexual men who knew they were HIV-positive.
"The team found that more than a third -- or about 35 percent -- of men in the studies reported having unprotected intercourse overall," Fenton said at the news conference. Again, "serosorting" was found to be widespread, with 30 percent of the men admitting to that practice, the study found.
Black gay and bisexual men, especially, have been hit hard by HIV/AIDS, but another study showed them to be more likely to engage in safe-sex practices
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